Bank card scams at ATMs across NYC are targeting senior citizens, according to reports

According to the NYPD, a group of scammers utilizing Citibank debit cards has been preying on elderly individuals in the five boroughs by using distraction techniques to steal their ATM cards and large amounts of money.

The suspects, who appear to be middle-aged, approach their victims as they withdraw cash and divert their attention by claiming that they have dropped money. In some cases, they even drop a $20 bill on the ground to distract their mark from the ATM terminal.

While the victims are distracted, the perpetrators replace their ATM cards with counterfeit ones. The scammers are known to monitor the victims and obtain their PIN numbers from previous transactions.

They subsequently use the real cards to deplete the elderly victims’ bank accounts.

The NYPD reported that the first known case occurred on February 3, when two individuals approached a 79-year-old man at the Citibank branch located at 1388 Pennsylvania Ave. in Starrett City, Brooklyn.

After using distraction tactics, the victim discovered that $5,290 had been withdrawn from his account. More than a week later, on February 12, the scammers struck again, stealing $4,500 from a 93-year-old woman in Forest Hills, Queens.

Between February 15 and February 24, the group committed seven more thefts, targeting individuals aged 60 to 88 at Citibank ATMs in Greenpoint, Ridgewood, Brooklyn Heights, Jackson Heights, and Starrett City three more times.

During this spree, the scammers obtained their largest amount of money, totaling $21,500. It is unclear why Citibank ATMs were specifically targeted.

In March, the group continued their activities, this time targeting a more geographically diverse range of neighborhoods, including Yorkville in Manhattan, Parkchester and Riverdale in the Bronx, and East Flatbush in Brooklyn.

The scammers managed to make off with a total of approximately $77,000. Despite releasing ATM screen captures of the suspects from three of the incidents, the photos were of little use as the perpetrators wore baseball caps and medical masks, making them difficult to identify.

The police have urged anyone with relevant information to contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.